It’s all over the news: the Puma is back.
But it’s not. The next car to bear the name won’t be a Puma, but a vehicle called Puma. Supposedly, the reason for re-using the name, in part, rests on the fact the new car is based on the Fiesta just like the old, and frankly much-missed little pocket rocket (1997-2002). And every one liked the Puma so it’s a name with some emotional weight.
The new vehicle is a manner of SUV, a Fiesta raised a bit to make it look like a cross-over. Doesn’t that make you
think Ford could perhaps more plausibly called it a Fusion? Maybe not. While some admired that car for its rigorously-executed exterior styling many more missed the point. That’s their loss and ours because an intelligent car was over-looked and a good name consigned to the bin. So, Puma it is.
This led me to try to think of other examples of iffy nameplate re-allocation. I suppose it’s not a black-and-white matter. GM and Ford did a lot of it in the 1950s as a sub-model became a model in its own right. That’d be at the acceptable end of the scale. If people liked the 1962 Cadillac Seville Nacho Supreme then why not make the Nacho Supreme a Cadillac model in its own right? That seems fair enough. Olds went Cutlass mad in the 1970s, such was the appeal of that model designator. No harm done.
We need a more egregious example or two before I can consider this a class of more than one entity.
The Opel Tigra? Opel based the first version on the Corsa and it could be understood, like the Mk1 Puma, as a sportier version of the family hatch. The second version seemed like a very different kind of car. I have to say the second version was not alien in concept to the first one, but was different, much like a lamb saag and and lamb bhuna differ.
What I am looking for is an example where there is difference in door count and fundamental attitude. It also has to be from the same manufacturer. The Ford Capri and Mercury Capri don’t count. But maybe the Mercury Capri which was a front-engined rear wheel drive coupe with engines ranging from 2.3 to 5.0 litres…
… and Mercury Capri might be getting hotter. The last Capri has front-wheel drive, a 1.6 four pot and was rather smaller.
We get a little more up to date with a sinner from Munich. For many years the BMW 6-series meant a car like this, a car running from 1976 t0 1989:
Such is the power of that car’s image that 6-series, at least for me, defines a class of medium-sized luxury coupés. The two-doorness is identical with the cars’s Six-ness. It is a beautiful re-interpretation of the themes used in the 728 and probably one of the most elegantly purposesful GTs ever made.
The more recent version can’t make the same claims. It’s not bad. That’s very clearly a four-door car, looking for all the world how the 5-series could plausibly look if a 5-series did not already exist in an another form. What it is not is a two-door coupe with a sophisticated and rakish character.
At this point I’ve run out of examples, indicating the class of inappropiate name-plate re-allocations is small and that might be indicative, n’est ce pas?